The Arizona Fall League's preliminary rosters are out. These rosters are subject to change both up until the start of the prestigious prospect league and during league play. However, for now, outfielders Grant Green and Michael Choice, shortstop Dusty Coleman, catcher Ryan Ortiz and pitchers Tyson Ross and Ethan Hollingsworth will be representing the green and gold on the Phoenix Desert Dogs' squad this fall. They will be managed by Sacramento River Cats' hitting coach Todd Steverson.
Green will be making a repeat trip to the Fall League. He was recently named to the Texas League's post-season All-Star team and is currently batting .293 with a 757 OPS for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds. He is batting .347 in August.
The A's 2009 first-round selection missed much of last year's league action with a strained calf. Last year, Green was at the AFL as a shortstop, but this season he will be in the outfield. Green made the switch to centerfield mid-season, so playing in the Arizona Fall League will give him more time to work on his new defensive position.
Joining him in the Phoenix outfield will be A's 2010 first-round pick Michael Choice. Choice currently leads the California League with 29 homeruns in 112 games. He had a league-best 47 game on-base streak earlier this season and has a 927 OPS for the Stockton Ports this season. Choice has been slowed this month by a quad strain, but he has been looking healthier lately and has hit safely in his last seven games.
Choice's Stockton teammate Dusty Coleman will also be heading to the desert. Coleman has been a comeback kid this season after missing all of last year with a broken wrist. The 2008 28th-round pick has 14 homers in 123 games this season, but has struggled to keep his strike-out total down, whiffing 176 times. He has played excellent defense at shortstop, however, and has 21 stolen bases in 25 games.
Ryan Ortiz began the season back in Phoenix at extended spring training as he recovered from right shoulder surgery. The catcher joined the Stockton Ports in May and he was red-hot at the plate from the outset for Stockton. In 28 games, he hit .340 with a 970 OPS. Ortiz hit .317 in July with the Midland Rockhounds, but he has been stuck in a bad slump in August, batting only .174. Despite the poor August, Ortiz still has a .361 OBP for Midland and a .401 OBP overall. He has never posted an OBP lower than .388 in any of his two-plus professional seasons. He was selected by the A's in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of Oregon State.
Ethan Hollingsworth and Tyson Ross will be looking to make up for time lost due to injury this season. Hollingsworth spent most of the season with Double-A Midland, where he posted a 3.61 ERA in 94.2 innings. The right-hander was recently promoted to Triple-A Sacramento and he should remain in the River Cats' rotation through the playoffs. He missed nearly two months of the season with a hip injury. Hollingsworth was acquired by the A's before the season from Colorado in a swap for pitcher Clayton Mortensen.
Ross spent the first half of the season on the Oakland A's roster, mostly as a starting pitcher. The A's 2008 second-round pick had a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings for the A's before he landed on the DL with an oblique strain. Since that time, Ross has struggled to get back on-track. He was hit hard during his rehab assignments with Stockton and Sacramento and was optioned back to Triple-A when he was ready to come off of the big league disabled list. In nine minor league starts, Ross has an 8.81 ERA in 31.2 innings.
The A's would like to have Ross as an option for their rotation next season, so having him add some innings during the Arizona Fall League could make him a stronger candidate for a rotation spot next year. He threw 136.1 innings in 2009, but was limited to 64.2 innings last season and 67.2 innings thus far this year.